I just read a story about an old lady and her terminally ill husband.

He fell down in the bathroom and couldn’t get up.

The old lady couldn’t lift him herself, so she called emergency services.

Seven medics arrived, trained and ready to deal with any situation.

Three district nurses, two paramedics, and two Marie Curie nurses.

Seven seemed more than she needed, but she asked if they could help get him back to bed.

They said no, none of them could do that.

They didn’t lift people.

He was only a thin elderly man, but regulations stated they didn’t lift people.

Not without special equipment, and they didn’t have any.

So seven highly-trained, emergency medical respondents couldn’t lift an old man back into bed.

And for two hours they stood around him and discussed the situation.

Between them, these people were trained to deal with hypothermia, hyperglycaemia, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, even poor nutrition and grief-counselling.

Seven trained professionals who could attend to most details of most situations that might occur.

But they couldn’t do the simple basic, human thing that needed doing.

So the man stayed on the floor for two hours, while they stood over him and discussed it.

That seems to be pretty much the way things are nowadays.

We have trained experts who can do everything except the simple, basic, things that need doing most.

Try it yourself, walk into any meeting and see who’s present.

There’s probably an Integration Evangelist, a Millennial Sales Strategist, a Brand Ambassador, a Head of Innovation, a Futurist, a Head of Organic Intelligence.

There’s probably an expert in dynamic storytelling, an expert in 360 degree conversations, in native advertising, in multi-channel unified brand experience, in system-wide cultural leadership, even in digital ecosystems.

All the experts sitting around unable to do the simple, basic thing that needs doing most.

Because here’s the simple, basic thing.

£18.3 billion is spent on all forms of advertising and marketing.

Of that, 4% is remembered positively, 7% is remembered negatively, and 89% isn’t noticed or remembered.

That’s roughly £17 billion lying around unable to get noticed.

While all the experts stand around and discuss why that’s not really their job.

Because none of them are interested in the simple, basic thing of getting the advertising noticed.

And all those experts are as much use an ashtray on a motorbike.


As Bill Bernbach said “If no one notices your advertising, everything else is academic.”